In high school, as soon as whoever could drive, my friends and I would go out to Joshua Tree and camp and climb rocks. My dude-friends would smoke a lot of weed and eat mushrooms, and my girlfriends would play guitars and sing country songs and dream. I guess the guys sang and dreamed, too. We always stopped at the Wheel-Inn in Cabazon where the dinosaurs have now been converted to Evangelical Christianity. It had multiple glowing display cases for desserts, these beautiful colored globe-lights that looked like they were made of plastic spaghetti, and this dark back room full of steer horns, and velvet paintings, and other junk that I guess was for sale but seemed like it just hung there separately from time. Like somehow, even though the building is gone now, if you went and poked around in the rubble, you could still find steer horns or an old clock. I remember eating chocolate cream pie with my best friend and never wanting to leave the pink booths and false-wood walls. At that time, I don’t think I knew, or at least I didn’t remember, that this was the diner from the Pee Wee Herman movie. It felt like we were the only weirdos who knew about it, but it’s obviously pretty famous. I’m glad about that, because now when I see Pee Wee partying with truckers and a sad diner waitress, or Harry Dean Stanton standing outside at the phone booth, I am also 16 and poking around that back room, and everything stupid is so special | 2020 |